Tortoise in a Nutshell returns with Feral, a play animating the Trumpton Riots

This article is from 2013


credit: Andy Caitlin

The performance, which is part puppetry, part film, will be staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Even leaving aside the subject matter, there can be few more potentially stunning Fringe plays in the pipeline than Tortoise in a Nutshell’s Feral. A co-production with Cumbernauld Theatre after the previous success of Grit and The Last Miner, Feral is both a puppet show, with three puppeteers manipulating an ensemble cast of tiny characters, and a live-action film – as the characters are moved, video cameras project them on to a big screen above the stage. Director Ross MacKay explains: ‘It’s like Trumpton or Fireman Sam’s Pontypandy – this ideal community that we then start to tear apart.’

Perhaps unexpectedly, the story has its roots in the summer riots of 2011, transposed to an English seaside town where a brother and sister find themselves on opposite sides of a violent dispute when a big supercasino moves in. ‘Very quickly we realised the story is about community,’ says MacKay, ‘about how people live within their own community when those communities aren’t working. The way we’ve staged it is related to that theme – the idea of being able to see a character in close-up and everything all at once.’

Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, 2–25 Aug (not 13, 20), 8pm, £9 (£7).

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